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Books ‘n Stuff

April 19, 2011

I am pretty sure that I did not go into library school because I like books.  I do like books, don’t get me wrong.  I guess I went to library school because I kinda wanted to be an educator, I like finding information, and I like to always be learning.

When someone finds out I’m in library school the topic of physical books always comes up–print vs ebook; libraries vs Kindle or Google Books.

I am reminded of this again by Tame the Web‘s Michael Stephen’s post (x-posted from Library Journal), Stuck in the Past: “Students starting graduate school who want to work in libraries with stacks filled with books may be aiming for the wrong ­profession.”
Sure, as Border’s closes down, even the most sentimental have to admit: the age of the book is at an end.  My sister alerted me that her school district is adopted the use of Ipads instead of textbooks, if you need further proof.

So what of the books? I’d like to imagine with a meek comparison:

This last Saturday was Record Store Day.  If you haven’t heard, vinyl is back, and you can now wait in long lines to buy rare releases once a year on Record Store Day. According to the 4/18/2011 Wikipedia entry, Record Store Day is: “an internationally celebrated day observed the third Saturday of April each year. Its purpose, as conceived by independent record store employee Chris Brown, is to celebrate the art of music. The day brings together fans, artists, and the over 700 independently owned record stores in the United States, along with hundreds of independent record stores across the world.”

How do they celebrate music? By creating rarities–limited presses by all sorts of musicians (not just indie rockers) that drive even newbie collectors crazy.  I’m not going to go into how sound is better on vinyl (I honestly don’t know enough about it, nor is it relevant to this post), I’m really just talking about how people are collecting a physical object in an age of digital objects.

What does this mean for libraries?

I envision more unique physical objects that, while good for private ownership, might not be good for libraries to collect. More vinyl. More compact tape cassettes (oh, you didn’t hear? those are making a comeback also!).  More KITS–and I think this is important for libraries, as physical objects will have more parts.

So in lamenting the death of the “book,” we might want to be reconsidering what we are willing to collect and why.

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